Camping has a way of bringing our family closer together. That’s not to say we don’t fight on our long summer trips. We definitely do! 😉 But there is something about being snuggled up close together in our pop up camper at night that encourages our teens to talk. They open up to us and each other most often when we are all in the camper at night. Maybe it is the shared experiences we’ve had all day. Maybe it is the darkness of the camper and the brightness of the stars. Maybe it is just something about nature. Whatever it is, I’ll take it. Camping has become one of our favorite activities as a family.
Purchasing our pop up camper was the best thing we did as parents. I know there are other families that feel the same. I get an email nearly every week telling me as much. As a testament to the power of camping as a family, I am sharing Carrie and Josh’s remodel. They are an amazing couple that has opened their Texas home to several kids in the foster system. Very recently, the children in their care had told them that they had never slept under a sky full of stars. Carrie, Josh, and the rest of the family knew they definitely had to remedy that.
They spent a night tent camping with the kids in the yard, and they were SO THRILLED. Carrie said it was precious to hear the ooo’s and ahhh’s over the amazing sky, stars, and moon. That’s when Josh and Carrie knew they had to take their family camping more often. To make it a little easier, they decided to purchase a pop up camper. They had always wanted one but hadn’t found one in their price range. When some friends mentioned they were willing to sell their 2007 Rockwood by Forest River Series M-2318G at a very reasonable price, they jumped on it. Then they set it up under a covered carport roof and went to work on it as a family.
The camper was in pretty great shape. It just needed some minor repairs. They started by giving it a good scrub down on the exterior. The canvas over the queen bed had some water damage, so Carrie rented a carpet cleaner and got to work removing the stain. It was one of the most difficult parts of the process, as Carrie says working over her head for hours was exhausting. She used a combination of soaps and sprays, but the only thing that seemed to work on the stain was a mixture of vinegar and water. Then she sprayed it down with an enzyme spray from Norwex.
Carrie and Josh scrubbed down the exterior of the body with non-abrasive Comet to remove the light layer of mildew that had darkened the white paint. Then they removed her stickers. Carrie says it was definitely fun knowing that their new-to-them pop up had gone to Canada and Walt Disney World, but it was time for them to make their own memories in her.
In that spirit, Carrie and Josh wanted to give the interior a little facelift. They were anxious to get the family out camping as soon as possible, so they decided to keep the makeover minimal. They stripped all the original fabrics and pulled the clips off the curtains in order to reuse them. Carrie bought 9 x 12 canvas dropcloths to construct new curtains. She wanted a really thick durable set of curtains that would hold up over many camping trips.
She found some upholstery fabric at Hobby Lobby that felt strong and durable and used it to cover the dinette cushions and sofa. Carrie wanted something that could withstand a lot of kid traffic, and the pattern and weave of this fabric definitely fit the bill. Then the table got several coats of whitewash stain and polyurethane.
They did not paint any of the cabinets. Josh and Carrie wanted to keep a cabin type feel to their pop up camper, and the natural wood fit that theme. They were also anxious to get out with the kids and make some camping memories. They knew painting the cabinets would be a big project. 😆 (If you are interested in painting your camper cabinets, be sure to check out our painting tutorial here.)
It’s so amazing to me how Josh and Carrie transformed their pop up camper without making any permanent changes. I love how the fabrics have changed the whole look of the camper and give a personal touch to Josh and Carrie’s little PUP. Because Carrie selected durable fabrics, their makeover will hold up to dirty little hands–making it perfect for camping with kids.
And I know the whole family is very excited to get out and make some memories in their new camper, because Carrie and Josh’s teenage daughter was actually the one who sent me all the pictures of their family PUP makeover. Carrie tells me they are waiting on another foster placement, and are hoping to take their new family member out to enjoy nature with them. Isn’t that awesome?
Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, Josh and Carrie. Your makeover looks amazing, and I know you’ll make some amazing family memories in it.